Google Launches Google Code Labs
Google on March 3 launched Google Code Labs, which the company described as "a home for developer products still in their early stages of development." The site will, among other things, provide developers with clarity about the company's APIs that are still being developed.
A Google spokesperson said the goal of Google Code Labs is to offer the Google engineering teams "a chance to explore ideas" and for the development community to get involved with Google's products on an early basis and participate in that exploration.
In a blog post introducing Google Code Labs, Tom Stocky, director of Google Developer Products, said there are currently more than 60 APIs and tools on Google Code and "we credit much of this growth to a culture of exploration and rapid iteration, and to the invaluable feedback and insights we receive from you about each product as it evolves."
Stocky also said the company was "announcing that several of [Google's] best-known and most-used APIs and tools are among the first set of Google Code Labs 'graduates'-including App Engine, Google Web Toolkit, AJAX Search API, Maps API, Earth API, Calendar Data API, YouTube APIs and more."
According to Stocky:
For these graduates, we're increasing our commitment with published deprecation policies and other critical support services. The Visualization API terms, Contacts Data API terms, and Picasa Web Albums Data API terms include good examples of transparent deprecation policies. They state that we'll support each version for at least 3 years from when it's deprecated or a newer version is introduced. We're working to get policies posted for the other graduates as well, though the time period may vary a bit from product to product. It will be 3 years for most, but it might be less for some. The AdWords API, for example, has a policy of supporting old versions for 4 months.
Of course, even established products need a way to experiment with new features. With that in mind, some products will have features labeled "experimental" that could change (or even be removed) at any time, while the rest of the API is covered by a deprecation policy with long-term support.
There are additional hurdles for an API to graduate from Labs. They include requirements like having a dedicated, ongoing engineering team and comprehensive test suite.
Stocky also said Google will be doing away with its SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) Search API, which the company says will be "sufficiently" replaced by the Google AJAX Search API.